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Panther Gets Too Much Love And Hate?


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#301 DKTanker

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 1450 PM

 

There are many other examples of the "mantlet bounce" happening, so again, I would suggest that allied gunners would try to aim at that part of the Panther. It was near the turret ring, you might hit the front turret, which was more or less vertical or get a perpendicular hit on the gun mantlet. Anything in that area would be a better option than the sloped glacis plate.

As mentioned previously, the turret ring, if visible, is ALWAYS the aim point.  Not only does the turret ring represent center mass (admittedly it isn't often the case at all) thus a convenient aim point, but it is universally a weak point of all turreted vehicles.  If a round happens to hit the mantlet and ricochet down into the lower hull, that's fine.  I do imagine, though, that they'd rather the round penetrate the mantlet and destroy the weapon and or turret crew to prevent return fire as in your 5th kill example.

Here's the thing you really need to keep in mind, round to round dispersion.  Round to round dispersion means it is a fool's errand to purposely count on bouncing a round off the mantlet into the drivers compartment of a Panther.



#302 bojan

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 1746 PM

 

Thank you Ken. So if they had information since September...

 

Not really. Information they had from it was just base thickness of armor, and even that was later found to be somewhat incorect (eg, they considered sides to be 65mm, but only lower sides were). Which is probably a consequence of inspecting really blown up example.

 

 

Incidentally, there was in last seasons 'Combat Dealers' a Russian who claimed to own significant remnants of that first blown up Tiger. From the wreckage it clearly was a Tiger, but somewhat hard to place what batch.

It was very early one, but it was found on the wrong spot to be first one. So probably one of the subsequent loses.


Edited by bojan, 02 February 2017 - 1749 PM.


#303 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 0302 AM

 

 

There are many other examples of the "mantlet bounce" happening, so again, I would suggest that allied gunners would try to aim at that part of the Panther. It was near the turret ring, you might hit the front turret, which was more or less vertical or get a perpendicular hit on the gun mantlet. Anything in that area would be a better option than the sloped glacis plate.

As mentioned previously, the turret ring, if visible, is ALWAYS the aim point.  Not only does the turret ring represent center mass (admittedly it isn't often the case at all) thus a convenient aim point, but it is universally a weak point of all turreted vehicles.  If a round happens to hit the mantlet and ricochet down into the lower hull, that's fine.  I do imagine, though, that they'd rather the round penetrate the mantlet and destroy the weapon and or turret crew to prevent return fire as in your 5th kill example.

Here's the thing you really need to keep in mind, round to round dispersion.  Round to round dispersion means it is a fool's errand to purposely count on bouncing a round off the mantlet into the drivers compartment of a Panther.

 

 

It certainly happened, but Im damned if I know how any gunner could count on it happening for this very reason. Its the AFV equivalent of a down the throat Torpedo shot, yes theoretically it would work, but its not exactly something I would count on if you had another choice.

 

 

 

 

Thank you Ken. So if they had information since September...

 

Not really. Information they had from it was just base thickness of armor, and even that was later found to be somewhat incorect (eg, they considered sides to be 65mm, but only lower sides were). Which is probably a consequence of inspecting really blown up example.

 

 

Incidentally, there was in last seasons 'Combat Dealers' a Russian who claimed to own significant remnants of that first blown up Tiger. From the wreckage it clearly was a Tiger, but somewhat hard to place what batch.

It was very early one, but it was found on the wrong spot to be first one. So probably one of the subsequent loses.

 

Thanks for that, I did wonder if you had seen it.



#304 Harold Jones

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 1121 AM

 

 

 

There are many other examples of the "mantlet bounce" happening, so again, I would suggest that allied gunners would try to aim at that part of the Panther. It was near the turret ring, you might hit the front turret, which was more or less vertical or get a perpendicular hit on the gun mantlet. Anything in that area would be a better option than the sloped glacis plate.

As mentioned previously, the turret ring, if visible, is ALWAYS the aim point.  Not only does the turret ring represent center mass (admittedly it isn't often the case at all) thus a convenient aim point, but it is universally a weak point of all turreted vehicles.  If a round happens to hit the mantlet and ricochet down into the lower hull, that's fine.  I do imagine, though, that they'd rather the round penetrate the mantlet and destroy the weapon and or turret crew to prevent return fire as in your 5th kill example.

Here's the thing you really need to keep in mind, round to round dispersion.  Round to round dispersion means it is a fool's errand to purposely count on bouncing a round off the mantlet into the drivers compartment of a Panther.

 

 

It certainly happened, but Im damned if I know how any gunner could count on it happening for this very reason. Its the AFV equivalent of a down the throat Torpedo shot, yes theoretically it would work, but its not exactly something I would count on if you had another choice.

 

 

 

It becomes more likely as more shots are fired whether it's one gunner getting off multiple shots or if you have a whole platoon aiming at more less the same spot.



#305 lastdingo

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 1457 PM

To shoot at least one smoke shell was most likely a much better choice for a Sherman crew that faced a Panther at 200+ m.

 

About the merits of the Panther:

Fuel consumption was roughly proportional to mass among those WW2 tanks. 10 litres petrol consumed for 100 km driven per metric ton of vehicle mass.

 

A 30 ton tank with for example a 7.5 L/60 gun using the L/48's cartridge & Panther protection but no bow machinegunner/radio operator, less voluminous torsion bar suspension and thus a much lower hull roof would have been feasible technologically.  It would have had approx 1/4 less fuel consumption, thus 1/3 more de facto mobility under the restrictions of fuel shortages.



#306 cbo

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 0815 AM

 

It certainly happened, but Im damned if I know how any gunner could count on it happening for this very reason. Its the AFV equivalent of a down the throat Torpedo shot, yes theoretically it would work, but its not exactly something I would count on if you had another choice.

 

But that is the point, isn't it? There was no other choice if you were facing a Panther with, say, a 75mm M3 gun. So why not go for the underside of the mantlet, where you might get lucky with the bounce, you might get a hit perpendicular to the gun mantlet, you might hit an opening in the gun mantlet or you might hit the turret ring. All are small targets, difficult to hit, but the "bounce" is probably you best change of knocking out the tank. Soviet 45mm rounds penetrating this way maimed or killed the driver and/or hull gunner, a larger 75mm AP round that would brake up inside the tank might even set it on fire.

 

Another "bounce" story here: http://www.chars-fra...sk=view&id=1043

 

"Lorsque Kaysersberg sera atteint, on constatera que l’adversaire du RENARD était un PzKfw V “Panther” de 45 tonnes, pratiquement à l’épreuve de nos obus. Il a reçu plusieurs obus, dont l’un a par chance ricoché sur la partie inférieure du masque du canon, perçant le toit du poste de pilotage et tuant le pilote."

 

The "chin-mantlet" was introduced in September 1944, even though the problem had been there from July 1943. It would suggest, that the problem became bigger as time went by. An explanation could be, that it was a shot that more enemy gunners tried to take - for lack of other options - thus increasing the number of tanks lost to this cause.

148621408985953300_resized.jpg



#307 lastdingo

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 1018 AM

There were other choices.

 

- hit the upper glacis or turret front with smoke shell to blind the Panther crew

- hit the tracks with HE follow-on shot

- run

- call for air power and 155 mm

- try to face them with flanking position next time



#308 Tim the Tank Nut

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 1341 PM

I haven't shot a LOT but I've shot enough to say that you'd be surprised what a good gunner could hit



#309 Jim Warford

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 2323 PM

I haven't shot a LOT but I've shot enough to say that you'd be surprised what a good gunner could hit

 

I agree completely...as a Tank Platoon Leader in my first tank battalion (2-81 Ar, 1 AD), I met the highest scoring gunner in USAEUR. In his case, it wasn't an issue of hitting all the targets in the shortest amount of time...it was about where exactly, you wanted each round to hit on each target. A good gunner can be surprisingly good...        



#310 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 0327 AM

 

 

It certainly happened, but Im damned if I know how any gunner could count on it happening for this very reason. Its the AFV equivalent of a down the throat Torpedo shot, yes theoretically it would work, but its not exactly something I would count on if you had another choice.

 

But that is the point, isn't it? There was no other choice if you were facing a Panther with, say, a 75mm M3 gun. So why not go for the underside of the mantlet, where you might get lucky with the bounce, you might get a hit perpendicular to the gun mantlet, you might hit an opening in the gun mantlet or you might hit the turret ring. All are small targets, difficult to hit, but the "bounce" is probably you best change of knocking out the tank. Soviet 45mm rounds penetrating this way maimed or killed the driver and/or hull gunner, a larger 75mm AP round that would brake up inside the tank might even set it on fire.

 

Another "bounce" story here: http://www.chars-fra...sk=view&id=1043

 

"Lorsque Kaysersberg sera atteint, on constatera que l’adversaire du RENARD était un PzKfw V “Panther” de 45 tonnes, pratiquement à l’épreuve de nos obus. Il a reçu plusieurs obus, dont l’un a par chance ricoché sur la partie inférieure du masque du canon, perçant le toit du poste de pilotage et tuant le pilote."

 

The "chin-mantlet" was introduced in September 1944, even though the problem had been there from July 1943. It would suggest, that the problem became bigger as time went by. An explanation could be, that it was a shot that more enemy gunners tried to take - for lack of other options - thus increasing the number of tanks lost to this cause.

148621408985953300_resized.jpg

 

 

 

Well reading the Jentz book, particularly the one on the Tiger, there is some evidence of remarkable disorganisation in the German Tank factories, from the delay in getting new components to the front of the queue, and sometimes using old out of date components because they hadnt been clear from the production line. The best example of that is rubber road wheels being used on Panther, after having used up a batch of steel roadwheels which were not replaced. Pure speculation on my part, but It may well be that they had solid mantlets earlier, and for production reasons did not get them to the front of the queue. Im pretty sure ive seen photos of panthers constructed at the end of the war (the British army ones are a good example) because they had used up the solid mantlets and had curved available.

 

So yes, it might have got worse towards the end of the war and was perceived as a problem that needed addressing. The problem was German factories were not encouraged to consult front line soldiers to build what they wanted, which meant a top down approach through the military bureucracy and all the delay that entailed. Or it may be they identified it as a potential problem earlier, introduced a new mantlet and did no persevere with it because they thought it was unnecessary. I guess what im saying is, you might be right, but the chaotic nature of German production suggests caution that just because something appeared at a particular point, it was because of a newly emerging problem. The perseverence with fitting Zimmereit to German tanks for so long is an indication of what I mean.

 

I certainly agree it happened. Id be a lot happier if someone can find lots more photos of it happening because you can look through Jean Paul Pallauds book 'Panzers in Normandy' and I had a job at the time identifying any panthers that might have been killed by this method. And there are lots and lots of dead panthers in that book.

 

Personally If I was facing a Panther that close, Id bail out. But thats just me. :D


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 05 February 2017 - 0328 AM.


#311 seahawk

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 0347 AM

It depends what you want to call a valid tactic. If we presume a 1:1 battle of equally skilled crews, I personally would not call the mantlet shot a workable tactic. If we look at the realities of the war with huge numerical superiority of the allied tankers and often higher skilled and better trained crews it can be a solution.



#312 Marek Tucan

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 0754 AM

Plus... Basically the area was a natural shot anyway. Center mass, esp. if you take into account that lower hull is usually hidden behind something.In the end, even after the initial WP or HE you want to pour fire on the big ugly hunk of metal to add to confusion.

#313 DKTanker

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 0911 AM

So the battlefield conversation went so?  "Okay Joe, wait until he turns his turret just a smidge more, that way you can bounce the shot off the mantlet and into the hull."  As opposed to, "Just shoot the fucker, Joe.  Maybe we'll get lucky."



#314 DKTanker

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 0914 AM

It depends what you want to call a valid tactic. If we presume a 1:1 battle of equally skilled crews, I personally would not call the mantlet shot a workable tactic. If we look at the realities of the war with huge numerical superiority of the allied tankers and often higher skilled and better trained crews it can be a solution.

I think more than a little post event embellishment is at play.  Such as, "I'm just a damn good shot.  Of course I meant for the round to bounce off the bottom of the mantlet and into the hull.  How else are you supposed to defeat a Panther?"



#315 tankerwanabe

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 0923 AM

Curiously the Germans reportedly remedied the mantle bounce to cure the turret jamming instead of the killing of the driver.

#316 cbo

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 1332 PM

Curiously the Germans reportedly remedied the mantle bounce to cure the turret jamming instead of the killing of the driver.

 

Interesting - when I discussed this with - among others - Carey Ericsson (I think that was his name) in 2004, he discussed it with Thomas Jentz, who stated that he had never found a primary source specifying exactly why the Germans designed the new mantlet. So I'd be really interested in the source for that information :)



#317 cbo

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 1348 PM

 

Well reading the Jentz book, particularly the one on the Tiger, there is some evidence of remarkable disorganisation in the German Tank factories, from the delay in getting new components to the front of the queue, and sometimes using old out of date components because they hadnt been clear from the production line. The best example of that is rubber road wheels being used on Panther, after having used up a batch of steel roadwheels which were not replaced. Pure speculation on my part, but It may well be that they had solid mantlets earlier, and for production reasons did not get them to the front of the queue. Im pretty sure ive seen photos of panthers constructed at the end of the war (the British army ones are a good example) because they had used up the solid mantlets and had curved available.

 

So yes, it might have got worse towards the end of the war and was perceived as a problem that needed addressing. The problem was German factories were not encouraged to consult front line soldiers to build what they wanted, which meant a top down approach through the military bureucracy and all the delay that entailed. Or it may be they identified it as a potential problem earlier, introduced a new mantlet and did no persevere with it because they thought it was unnecessary. I guess what im saying is, you might be right, but the chaotic nature of German production suggests caution that just because something appeared at a particular point, it was because of a newly emerging problem. The perseverence with fitting Zimmereit to German tanks for so long is an indication of what I mean.

 

I certainly agree it happened. Id be a lot happier if someone can find lots more photos of it happening because you can look through Jean Paul Pallauds book 'Panzers in Normandy' and I had a job at the time identifying any panthers that might have been killed by this method. And there are lots and lots of dead panthers in that book.

 

Personally If I was facing a Panther that close, Id bail out. But thats just me. :D

 

 

The chin-mantlet was introduced into production in September 1944, but as you suggest, they used up whatever rounded mantlets they had and in some factories, these lasted to the end of the war. They might even have had the blueprints in the drawer for a long time, but September 1944 was the time when they choose to act. That does not necessarily mean that they reacted to allied forces in Normandy, it might as well be a reaction to experiences in the east.

 

As for pictures, I think it is something which is really hard to spot. Looking at pictures of the wrecks from Le Desert, none I've seen shows the hull roof over the drivers compartment and the small nick in the mantlet from the bounce will be really difficult to spot unless you have a very clear picture.

 

As for lots of dead Panthers not being a victim of a "mantlet bounce" is hardly suprising - slugging it out with a Panther from the front would be something you'd try to avoid - flank shots would be a much better option.


Edited by cbo, 06 February 2017 - 1327 PM.


#318 mkenny

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 1527 PM

 

6th Kill (s) - 1600 hours on July 11th. 1st Platoon C/899th knocks out two Panthers as they advance from a hedgerow toward a small
group of houses. One Panther was "split up the left side" by an AP round that hit the flank armor near the front corner of the hull.
Other seems to have been hit in flank also.

 

 

 

Whats the probability this is the 2 Panthers?

 

GQUe2t.jpg



#319 Manic Moran

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 1701 PM

A few days ago I colleague posted this photo in a Spanish forum. I was wondering if anyone has come across it before. There are a number of interesting aspects about it. The first Panther is an Ausf D, but some equipment is missing: smoke launchers, kit on the sides... the gun in the first vehicle is covered. It could be because it is going to be transported somewhere or to prevent someone from taking photos showing the new armament. The third vehicle does not have the front mudguards. The second Panther does not have a turret. It is unlikely it is a Bergepanther, as some features are missing -handles in front glacis-. Maybe it is a Panther being used a recovery vehicle?

 

The photo seems to have been taken during Summer 1943. Everyone posing is relaxed and a kid is looking at the vehicles, probably taken in Germany.

 

125omlw.jpg

 

http://www.elgrancap...7b0f7&start=360

 

I asked Hilary Doyle about the middle vehicle. His response: "See Panzer Tract No.16-1 - it is the of the early Bergepanther"



#320 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 1709 PM

I do remember reading some WW2 history book where a Churchill did "the bounce" at near-point-blank range and knocked out a Panther, and there was something about the crew having nervous breakdowns immediately afterward. I'd love to track it down, if only because it sounds like garbage on so many levels. :)






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